FX’s ‘The Bridge’ may be one of the best new TV show I’ve seen in a while. As a Californian I have been aware of the complexities surrounding immigration from Latin America into the United States since I was a child. My first year here in Texas has brought it to the forefront of my consciousness as I’ve met people who are public defendants for immigrants, lawyers working toward immigration reform, and people who have been immigrants or work closely with them. The national political debate has intensified over how to go about balancing the need for secure national boarders along with a humane approach to helping people who are struggling to start life anew.
The Bridge does something that public debate cannot do in and of itself: it tells a story. I have been forced to think through the complexities of immigration in a way that hard data doesn’t allow. The show is set on the boarder of El Paso, TX, and Ciudad Juárez, CI. It explores the disparities between these two communities. I recommend it, highly. Also, it is a well written, well acted drama with a lot of mystery, so there’s that.
The episodes can be seen for free online here.
Also, KCRW’s The Business interviewed the writers, which you can listen to here.
Last weekend I had the privilege of meeting Anton Flores when he came to San Antonio Mennonite Church for a weekend workshop discussing justice and the stranger through the lens of Exodus 1-3. He is the co-founder of a missional community called Alterna where their goal is to “offer hospitality to Jesus who often visits us as an unauthorized immigrant from Latin America.” This community aims to welcome the stranger in a way that moves past the binary language of our politicized debate over immigration in this nation to a Christian vision which begins with the value of a person as a human. I was impressed and moved by what their community is doing and I invite you to go to their website to learn more about it: alternacommunity.com.
Another movement is afoot among evangelicals. The “I was a stranger” challenge has been launched by a group of evangelicals known as the Evangelical Immigration Table. The video I have embedded below is an introduction, but the group has more videos discussing how evangelicals might serve and love those who are traveling into this country seeking a better life. This group does have a political edge to it, but it aims to be bipartisan, so maybe it will help us move forward in our national discussion on the subject.
“It is easy to forget, when talking about a complex issue like immigration, rife with competing statistics used liberally by both sides of the debate, that we are essentially talking about human beings, each made in God’s image. C.S. Lewis reminds us that each human being–the foreign born certainly not excluded–is an immortal being with a destiny much greater than this life alone, and in this sense is ‘the holiest object presented to your senses.’ Our faith prohibits us from seeing any person as anything less than human and therefore sacred.”
- Matthew Sorens and Jenny Hwang, Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion, and Truth in the Immigration Debate, p. 22.